US Federal Government, Companies Dig In for 1 Trillion Trees Initiative

The United States leads the way in plan to grow, restore, conserve 1 trillion trees
August 29, 2020 Updated: August 29, 2020

American cities, federal agencies, and corporate giants pledged this week to plant over 800 million trees as the United States launched its Chapter of the 1 Trillion Trees initiative—a global effort led by the World Economic Forum to reduce air pollution, improve human living environments, and promote job creation.

Some 26 American cities, companies, and non-profit organizations joined forces on Aug. 27 to create the world’s first regional chapter of the 1t.org initiative. The 1 Trillion Trees project aims to grow, restore, and conserve 1 trillion trees around the world by 2030.

“The 1t.org US Chapter launches at a perfect time,” said Jad Daley, President and Chief Executive Officer of American Forests, in a statement. “It unites the diverse organizations and people working for trillion trees so that we can do more, and do it better, by working together. And it aligns with the trillion trees movement quickly building in the US, including bi-partisan Congressional support for historic forest conservation legislation and bold new commitments from corporations and NGOs to help address carbon emissions with reforestation.”

“We have seen enormous energy and enthusiasm to conserve and restore our forests,” said Justin Adams, Director of Nature Based Solutions at the World Economic Forum. “A nature-positive recovery is crucial to a great reset of our society and economy. Putting trees at the heart of this reset will help ensure it is sustainable for us and future generations.”

According to the project organizers, every $1 million invested in tree planting and forest restoration in the United States creates nearly 40 jobs.

Commitment to Trees

In his State of the Union address on Feb. 4, President Trump reiterated that the United States would support the project.

“To protect the environment, days ago I announced that the United States will join the One Trillion Trees Initiative, an ambitious effort to bring together government and private sector to plant new trees in America and all around the world,” he said.

Government agencies, non-profits, and companies across the United States began examining how they could use trees to sequester carbon, cool urban environments, boost local economies, reduce wildfire risks, improve air quality, and provide amenities for recreation.

According to Aurora Cutler at the Office of Sustainability and Climate, USDA Forest Service, the use of novel planting techniques to reintroduce trees on areas damaged by wildfires can make these areas more resistant to future fires while improving the environment for humans and wildlife.

“Healthy forests support natural stream systems and watersheds, filtering drinking water for 180 million Americans,” Cutler posted in a statement. “Our national forests are an important source of rural prosperity, providing forest industry jobs to more than 2.5 million Americans. Wildlife thrives in our national forests.”

As part of the 1 Trillion Trees mandate to grow, restore, and conserve trees and wooded areas, Cutler said the Forest Service is working hard to ensure forest resilience by means of a broad range of management techniques.

“The USDA Forest Service is protecting lives and property in forest adjacent communities, with timber harvests, reducing high fuel risk stands, and hazardous fuel treatments, including mechanical thinning and prescribed burning,” she posted. “Our primary tools to address these risks are reducing the amount of hazardous fuels and limiting the number of healthy trees on specified terrain.”

Corporate Support

The U.S. chapter of the 1 Trillion Trees initiative received pledges this week from several U.S. cities as well as companies such as Amazon, Mastercard, and Amazon. According to a statement from 1 Trillion Trees, “26 US-based organizations have already pledged for the launch to conserve, restore, and grow more than 855 million trees, an area equal to 2.8 million acres.”